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How to reduce your home insurance premium

Insurance quotes are based on perceived risk: those of burglary, fire and flooding being three of the more obvious ones. But whilst there's not a lot you can do if a local river breaks its banks and comes heading your way, there are measures you can take to minimise the other two and so, hopefully, lower your contributions.

There are various ways to make your house less attractive to burglars. Looking like you have nothing worth stealing is a good one, but probably won't make much difference to your premiums. Fitting an approved burglar alarm will though, to the tune of a potential 7.5% reduction. Approved locks to your windows and doors will likewise earn you a discount of up to 5%. The bonus you pay to insure high value items such as jewellery can also be somewhat offset just by installing a safe. You may be able to negotiate further discounts by fitting a chain to your front door or a spyhole, both should certainly make you feel safer even if they don't result in any financial benefit. Let your insurer know if you have a dog or a noisy gravel drive, again, it may go in your favour.

Joining a neighbourhood watch scheme, plugging in a time-switch light, installing external security lights and planting holly bushes underneath your ground floor windows may or may not help cut down the cost of your insurance. However, they will all discourage burglars.

If bicycles are included within your insurance quote, keep them in your garden shed, locked up if possible. The shed itself should be secured with a quality padlock.

At the end of the day, the more you can convince your insurer that you have taken every conceivable step to deter thieves, the better your chances of achieving a significant price reduction.

Taking steps to protect your house against fire sounds like it should be a no-brainer, however, you would be surprised by how many people make no significant effort to safeguard either themselves or their property. Smoke alarms in landing and hallway are basic common sense, as is a fire extinguisher and/or blanket in the kitchen. All may save your life, all could save you money.

One thing that just about every insurer will ask is whether you are a smoker. If this is the case, now would be a really good time to try and give up. Not only will you feel better, you'll spend less on your shopping bill and less on your insurance.

Again, it is all about showing your insurer that you are serious about looking after your property.

There are other things you can do which don't involve making changes to your property. One is to pay a higher rate of excess to lower the premium, another is to make your insurer aware of any no claims history you may have. This latter can result in up to a 20% discount. Also, if you pay the annual premium up front this can often reduce the total amount paid.

Finally, take care not to overinsure or underinsure your property. The first will have you paying more than you need to, the latter will have you struggling to replace what you have lost. Bear in mind when you take out buildings cover that it should only cover the cost of rebuilding your house and paying for your temporary accommodation; it's not a reflection of the market value of the property.

At the end of the day you want the right cover at the best price. Here's hoping that you never have to claim on it.

Copyright Dawn Phillips All Rights Reserved